Facebook's subsidiary announced a big update to its messaging feature.

By Leena Rao
April 11, 2017

Another day, another feature that clones Snapchat.

Facebook FB has duplicated or tried to duplicate ephemeral messaging app Snapchat’s features a number of times, and the latest effort arrives in the form of a new update to Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app Instagram.

Instagram is unifying disappearing photos and videos and texts in its messaging feature, Instagram Direct, which allows its users to send direct messages to their friends on the app. Previously, disappearing messages were separate threads than text messages sent using Direct. The disappearing messages appeared in bubbles at the top of the messaging app, whereas text and image messages appeared below.

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Now ephemeral messages will be combined, appearing in the same individual and group messages with friends—very similar to the way Snapchat’s SNAP messaging works.

Instagram also announced that Direct has grown from 300 million to 375 million monthly users since November 2016.

This isn’t the first time that Instagram has taken inspiration from Snapchat. Instagram added a new feature called Stories in 2016, which is identical in both name and function to one of the most popular features on Snapchat—one that allows users to collect photos and videos about an event and share them with friends.

However, Instagram Stories has taken off and has been credited by some as the trigger for a decline in Snapchat’s user base, something that analysts warned about when Snapchat went public in March.

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